Now I see them…

“Spotting” my family has one underlying expectation.

My desire comes from a yearning to be able to place the experiences of those I love in juxtaposition to the place in which those things happened. Sometimes I think it’s that I am very visual, and to understand and assimilate, I need to see.

Of course I know that I can’t go on every vacation, every school holiday and every business trip with each member of my extended family.  And still, when they are truly living their lives in separate places, I love to know how and where they are living it.

And there are additional hopes and dreams for each trip.  I don’t just want to know.  I want to know that all is well.  I want to return home feeling settled and calm with the knowledge that my children and grandchildren are safe and secure and God is in his heaven.  It’s hard for me to remain in my zen space if life is in turmoil for any one of them.

I’ve had some good visits this year.

Early in spring, my husband and I followed one granddaughter to Arizona to see where she is going to college.  I’ve dipped in and out of her life since she was little and we are always in intermittent contact. My father might have described her as peripatetic. She seems always ready for the next move.  Last year I met her in Brooklyn where she was volunteering on ship teaching environmental education to children.

I have watched her grow into herself as she bumps into walls following her impulses, all the time molding herself into a woman willing to sacrifice for what she wants, when she decides what that is.  College is taking her to another level.

She had Skyped me from her first house at college, but now I’ve been to her town, seen some of her classrooms, wandered the campus and helped her chase the spiders from her house.   Walking with her along the streets and paths that lead from her house to the store, to the library; and driving around the cliffs where she climbs rocks; I gained a sense of ease. She is more confident in revealing herself adult self to me in this new setting.  I like that.  I’m looking to the day that she trusts herself in the same way I trust in her.

And I’m feeling good now.  I can picture her days.

This week I’m returning from a visit with another granddaughter who is living in Ecuador for the school year.  I missed seeing the city where she spent her first months which niggles a bit at my obsessive self.  Oh well…

My hopes for this trip were that I would come to know her better and that I would be comfortable with her living situation in a foreign country.

We spent more time alone together in this past week than we have since her childhood.  We shared many unguarded moments that come with familiarity and camaraderie.  I’m thinking that at times she may have been bored, or mystified and even sometimes, irritated.  As for me, I was captivated by each nuance of who she is.  I breathed in her presence as she relaxed.  It didn’t matter to me whether we were riding on crowded buses or lying on the hotel bed, each with our electronic devices.  I loved being with her.

I have known about her spirit of independence and adventure as I’ve watched how she moves through her life.  Now I have seen her in action. She cares for me and for strangers without losing her sense of her own needs and wants.  She exhibits a spirit of survival combined with a positive attitude that helps her to dig in and make the best of situations.  She doesn’t dwell on any detriment to her life.  She moves to the place within herself where she wants to be and recognizes that it’s truly “all in the spin”.

As with my other trips, I traveled her routes (she taught me to navigate the city of Quito), located her school, and visited the mall where she shops as well as the hopping area of town where she enjoys evenings out with her friends. We ate her favorite foods.  I met her family and its extensions.

And now I’m good with her situation, too.

Because our time together was a gift that I treasure and it confirmed my faith in the woman she becoming.

And because I am confident that she’s in good hands.  When her exchange mother looks at her, it is with a mother’s eyes.  Her sisters are living their own lives, but their world includes her.  If my granddaughter makes her needs known, her parents in Quito will do everything within their power to provide for those needs.  These are working parents, so it may not be what she gets at home where her mom and dad have been anticipating what’s best for her since she was a baby; but it will be with caring interest and concern.

Again, following my family has met my expectations.  And I have had the privilege of obtaining my heart’s desire.

Who’s next?



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